Archive for the ‘Workshop materials’ Category

Jambo! It has been nine days since Syma and I have been deployed to Nairobi to support OCHA, ACAPS and UNICEF to build a more coherent and comprehensive approach to Rapid Needs Assessment in Kenya. Essentially, our task is to ensure that accountability elements are considered in the Rapid Needs Assessment Training that ACAPS is leading. After a two hour short hop from Lusaka, it was nice to meet my colleague Syma from Oxfam (I am sure she had a long haul as she was screaming for coffee!).

Monday morning we got to meet our wonderful ECB host, Elizabeth (who, I must add, has been terrific throughout this deployment). We spent the whole of last week preparing for the training working with Emese and Susan from ACAPs.  We introduced the elements of accountability to the trainees, how to collect data with accountability in mind, integrating the cross cutting themes and sharing information (assessment results) with communities. In addition, we were also asked to come in throughout the workshop to raise the accountability flag wherever necessary.

Syma Preparing for the Workshop

Syma has been good in thinking out of the box and coming up with innovative ways to weave accountability into the training workshop. With good discussions and a busy time preparing the materials, the week flew past! Over the weekend, Syma amazingly found time to get herself some useful ‘clappers ‘ as workshop material. These are a set of colourful plastic hands that really make a nice clapping sound!  She also did not miss out on the wonderful art Kenya offers and bought herself a snake made of soft drink bottle tops, as I spent the morning at a museum tracking the origins of humankind and understanding the long and interesting history of Kenya.

After a week of preparation our ‘real’ assignment kicked off. The venue is a good one hour from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi and offers great game views along the way. After a brisk lunch, we headed straight to the workshop. Our first task was to introduce the basic elements of accountability. To achieve this, we used the ‘Bus to Tentaka’ scenario developed by my colleague Goldan from WV Sri Lanka. The scenario is a busy bus station with a lot of passengers waiting for a weekly bus. When the bus comes, the passengers surge and swarm the bus, some passengers inevitably fail to get seats, while those lucky enough to get into the bus are delayed. A conflict ensues in the process. This created a good discussion forum on accountability and set out a nice platform. The session went well and a quick peek at the session evaluation forms shows a generally positive impression from the participants.

Syma Facilitating – “Doing The Data Collection With Respect” Session

Having set the tempo on the first day on Sunday, it was much easier to keep the accountability momentum on the next  few days of the workshop. Syma shared a presentation on good accountability practices before, during, and after assessment data collection. Evaluation forms for this session gave very high marks! An assessment scenario developed by Oxfam, but contextualized for Kenya, was used to test the participants’ understanding of good accountability practices during assessments. The importance of engaging community leaders and managing community expectations came out as key lessons for this session.

 The next session was aimed at highlighting cross cutting themes in the context of a Rapid Assessment. Some of the cross cutting themes included disability, gender, protection and environment. To make the session spicy, it was structured around a talent show called Kenya’s Got Talent. Participants were asked to choose one cross cutting theme and do a 90 second performance before a panel of experts (Cross Cutting Themes SMEs). This really brought the house down while sending the message home on cross cutting themes. In addition to the presentations, the ECB team set up an Accountability Corner in the workshop venue to allow participants to go through various accountability resources available. The Good Enough Guide has been a hit.

We are now at the end of this hectic yet exciting deployment. We got a chance to visit communities within Nairobi’s informal settlements to test the assessment data collection tool. It is always refreshing to meet communities and get to hear their stories. During the debrief session for the field work, it was encouraging to note the awareness of accountability issues among participants. We look forward to finishing strong.

Stay tuned for more updates from Syma and Sajilu on their successful deployment to Kenya!


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We are happy to announce that the full Good Enough Guide Training of Trainers (GEG ToT) training modules are now available on the English, French and Spanish versions of the ECB website. 

This website contains all the information you need to conduct a Good Enough Guide Training of Trainers, including an agenda, activity guidance, PowerPoint presentations, and notes and tools for trainers.  The entire resource package in each language is also available for download as zipfiles.

Take a look and give us your feedback! 

Please share any experiences using this training tool with Katy Love at klove@care.org.

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The CARE Standing Team are committed to sharing learning with all of us, and we are lucky that they have submitted another dispatch about their meeting! Angela submits this piece to us:

The Standing Team meets just once a year, so how do we make the most of our time together? how do we learn from each other?  how do we train up the newer members?  how do we move forward accountability practices?  I’ve captured here some of the tricks that help make great use of short time.

Talking accountability over dinner

Our workshop has a multi-purpose design beyond the accountability theme, and allows each and every one of us to design and deliver a session across the week.  We pair up a more seasoned member with a newer one in a “buddy system”.  Typically, ahead of the workshop, a needs assessment is done to determine what the interests, challenges and expectations are around the theme and an interactive session is designed around this.  We learn a lot about various aspects of accountability, emphasising the practice.  Today we looked at feedback, complaints and response mechanisms, as well as ways in which we review CARE’s performance in emergencies and against our humanitarian accountability framework. Different to other workshops – and a key feature of ours – is that facilitators also receive feedback on their session design and delivery, so as to build their skills in facilitation and workshop design too.

prop from workshop session

Today I’m left astounded by the thought and creativity that goes into the design.  Modelled on the famous tv programme, we played “Who Wants To Be An After Action Review Expert”.  Whilst the million dollar prize may not materialise for some time (where’s the accountability there?!), we were left with a brilliant example of smart session design.  Well tailored to the afternoon hump session, participants were lured in turn into the bright orange corona of a hot seat to answer questions on conducting after action reviews.  The questions were thoughtfully designed and drew out rich conversation on what after action reviews are (and are not!), the lessons learned from the previous reviews conducted by the facilitators, the key questions that are being debated within the organisation (to draw comments and insight from the participants to feed into the debate) and tips and tricks for facilitating after action reviews.  A great example that a cleverly designed and delivered session can achieve a lot in a short time and still be fun: everyone’s a winner.

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“I want you to all picture yourselves on one of the Indonesian islands. Form for yourselves a character – perhaps you are a rural farmer or perhaps you live in an urban area and make your money selling shoes on the street. Do you have any family, and do they live with you?

Right, now a cyclone has just ripped through the island. Picture again what situation you are in.”

This is how Hugh, ECB Shelter Accountability Advisor, began his workshop in Madrid.  Below is a blog submission from Hugh about his experience.

As part of my role to support the Shelter Cluster in improving accountability to affected populations, I attended the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies or IFRC Shelter Coordination Training in June in Madrid.  The training is for potential shelter cluster coordinators, with a focus on natural disasters, as IFRC convenes the cluster in these contexts. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) leads the Shelter Cluster in complex emergencies.

During the week-long training, I facilitated a session looking specifically at accountability to affected populations and the role cluster coordinators play in ensuring accountability.  This was focused around the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Operational Framework on Accountability to Affected Populations, which is based upon the Good Enough Guide.

The conversations ensuing were in-depth and fruitful.  Participants all considered accountability important prior to attending, but appeared to develop an understanding of how they, as potential cluster coordinators, could support agencies in ensuring accountability to affected populations.

One facilitation technique I used received excellent feedback.  In reviewing the Operational Framework, I stuck a strip of paper over who was responsible for addressing each objective.  In groups, participants had to review the objective and suggested indicators, and fill out who they thought held the responsibility for each objective.  Once each group had reported back to the plenary, they were then able to peel back the paper and uncover the answer.  Whilst fairly simple as a facilitation technique, the act of uncovering the answer seemed to promote great excitement!

Interesting feedback was also collected on the Operational Framework, such as the recommendation that the Framework be expanded to include government and beneficiaries as named stakeholders rather than focusing on the role of the aid community.

The training was attended by 16 participants in total, from IFRC, UNHCR, several Red Cross National Societies, and NGOs.

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The April 2012 research report, Building a Better Response: Gaps & Good Practice in Training for Humanitarian Reform, by Andy Featherstone, discusses NGO initiatives in training staff in humanitarian reform.  This includes humanitarian leadership, the cluster approach, pooled funding and general coordination.  The study found that current humanitarian reform training methodology, i.e. the teaching style, is not meeting the needs of those trained.

Key Findings

Humanitarian workers tend to prefer learning-by-doing and simulations. Examples of learning-by-doing can include a staffperson coaching or mentoring another staffperson or by placing staff in emergencies as part of their training. The report states:

While there are no easy solutions, existing knowledge certainly suggest the use of innovative and creative approaches to learning rather than formal techniques such as classroom-based methods.

The study also found international and national NGO field staff receive the least training in humanitarian response, while middle and senior managers and technical coordinators from the UN and international NGOs participate in training the most. Thus, training needs to be made available at the local level—not just in capital cities—for front-line humanitarian staff.

The report did, however, acknowledge ECB and the Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies for their ENHAnce project, an in-country training program for national staff. The project “addresses some of the more frequent criticisms of training in the sector, using a mixture of methods which includes learning-by doing through on-the-job coaching and distance learning.”

Tips for Adult Learning

A four-day workshop held by the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) in April on how to facilitate accountability trainings also addressed this issue of learning style. The Training of Trainers on the 2010 HAP Accountability Standard workshop held a session on adult learning in the classroom. While such learning style is not learning-by-doing in the field, it is more participatory than the traditional classroom-based method.

Here are a few pointers on adult learning:

Learning should be engaging and participatory

  • Encourage participants to share their thoughts and experiences
  • Change activity every 30 minutes
  • Use examples to which participants can relate through their lives or work experience

Use a variety of education styles, media, activities, such as

  • Interactive lectures (ask questions, encourage discussion between participants, promote participant sharing of their knowledge and experience)
  • Group discussions/exercises
  • Role play (learners practice using new knowledge or skills in a simulated situation, can be scripted or improvised, is discussed afterwards)
  • Quizzes (reinforce learning, serves as a different presentation of the information)
  • Questions (to determine participants’ knowledge and understanding)
  • Energizers (a short, fun activity that provides a break, can be related or unrelated to the topic of the learning, can build rapport between participants, can involve moving around)

Ask participants to

  • Explain complex issues
  • Describe how they would apply the learning to their jobs
  • Repeat key ideas during the reviews

Check out this blog on the findings of the Building a Better Response report, as well as this blog, submitted by Standing Team member Piva (Mery Corp), for more on the HAP workshop.

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The timeline is the skeleton on which we noted many of our learning and tips.

We looked in detail at two areas of concern along the timeline, in two group:

  • the role of management
  • communication and documentation of results

Our tips, ideas, questions were noted on the timeline with post it and will be captured on our presentation on the timeline (above)

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The focus group discussion results, all laid out.

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The session looked at who does what in an evaluation, using an adapted form of the RACI matrix. Its functioning was illustrated through a powerpoint.

Participants, divided in two groups, were then asked to fill in an empty framework. The task derived from the timeline analyzed in day one. The stakeholders derived from the mapping done in the Jakarta workshop.

Each group filled in a matrix, and the results were then compared, to agree on a final version.

General impressions from using the matrix:

  • Responses would vary depending on the particular context, e.g. how involved global ECB actors might be.
  • Certain stakeholders may be more or less involved, depending on the existing skill levels.

Discussion and debate:
Need to clarify/change/expand “ECB” – who are we talking about? AIM Advisors? ECB Consortium?

Secondary data collection and review – which stakeholders can be sources of secondary data depends how you define secondary. If it is data/information/documents that already exist, many stakeholders are sources. If it is data that has been analyzed and processed in some way (e.g. mid-term evaluation report; government reports), fewer stakeholders would have those, and the other data they have would be primary data.

Reflection workshops/debriefing – which stakeholders are involved depends on the timing and purpose. Simple debriefings/informal verbal reports of initial findings are different than reflection workshops whose results are then incorporated into the analysis and/or recommendations of the report.

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Participants discussed, in small groups, some evaluation standards: what do they imply? why they matter? They then presented them, linking them to real life stories and examples.

The standards discussed are listed in the presentation below

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